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Prague beauty…

August 2, 2015
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view from the Charles Bridge

That the old cities of Europe are beautiful no one would dispute.

What I have discovered is that I basically have a 4-5 hour window where my eyes/brain can absorb beauty, or intense spaces, before the back of my eyes begin to hurt. I mean literally hurt! Soon after that I can’t really absorb anything more – have it stick to my brain.

Part of this is that we have no idea if we will ever be back in Prague – so we want to go slowly, and really try to feel what it is we see. So, when a travel guide describes what should be a 1/2 day walking tour – like yesterday’s Kafka walk, it turns into something we don’t finish in a day.

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Spanish Synagogue

 

This is our problem: Prague is not like a city in Canada where space is mostly just something you traverse getting from point A to point B. One starts at the Kafka statue (do not go into the Spanish Synagogue beside the statue or you will lose an hour – save that for another day) and then we are to wind our way to the Cafe Louvre, a favourite of his – but in between every building is a work of art – every street a fairy tale wonder.

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“Oh look, those church doors are open. Let’s look.” Only to discover that you have walked into a 17th century Baroque church and your head explodes! Another 1/2 hour gone.

 

 

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Pinkas Synagogue

Then we stumble upon the Pinkas Synagogue – and we are humbled and saddened as we trace all the names of all the Prague Jews who were lost to the concentration camps – as the synagogue is now a shrine with the names of the 80,000+ Prague Jews who were taken to the concentration camp at Terezin. And beside it the Jewish Cemetery, with tombstones going back to the 13th century. Tombstones piled almost atop one another as Jews began dying in the WWII ghetto so fast they started burying them 6 – 7 – 8 deep.

And one doesn’t simply pop their head into the Cafe Louvre to see where Kafka and Einstein and Dvorak (and so many others) hung out. The 100-year-old art nouveau cafe is extraordinarily beautiful – “look, there’s a table by the window! Let’s have lunch!”

Impeccable, beautiful, delicious!

_DSC3293Now we have to walk to Petrin Hill – also a favourite space of Milan Kundera. We are now hours behind our schedule (there is still the Kafka Museum) – but what luck – to the west we watch a magnificent sunset – and to the east a full moon rises over Old Prague (sorry about the camera smudge – didn’t notice…)

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The Vltava River at night – winding through Prague – a full moon – watching fireworks from the Charles Bridge – coffee at a open riverside cafe until midnight.

My eyes by then have hurt for hours. My brain cannot absorb it all. I look around at everything – as if through a veil.

I want to sleep. Not because I am tired, but because my eyes hurt. I want to cry.

Prague is a dream. A Grimm fairy tale of good and evil.

“Pinch me,” my girlfriend says to me, “so that I know this is all real.”

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Marcia Weiner permalink
    August 3, 2015 12:17 pm

    HI Sherwood,

    What a beautiful piece! It made me teary and brought back so many wonderful memories. Yes – Prague is an extraordinarily beautiful city and one where space “is not just something you traverse getting from point A to Point B.”

    Wish I were with you.

    Love to both,

    Marcia

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